“Confetti” abelia (Abelia x grandiflora “Confetti”) is a glossy abelia cultivar that grows to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. This variegated shrub has white around the edges of the leaves, with the white parts turning pink in winter. It produces an abundance of small white blooms in summer. This shrub’s size, colorful foliage and profuse flowering make it a smart choice for a foundation planting.
“Confetti” abelia grows U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, although it may struggle in USDA zones 5 and 6. In USDA zone 5, the stems die during the winter but should grow back in the spring. It is semi-evergreen which means it will lose half its foliage during the winter in USDA zones 6 and 7 and possibly suffer some stem damage. In USDA zones 8 and 9, it is evergreen, retaining its foliage through the winter.
“Confetti” abelia thrives with direct sun for six hours or more a day, making it suitable for a south-facing foundation planting. It will also thrive in a partial shade eastern or western foundation planting with four to six hours of direct sun each day. A northern foundation planting will not provide enough direct sun for this shrub. Southern, western and eastern foundation landscapes that are shaded by trees or other structures are also not suitable.
“Confetti” abelia grows well in most types of soil as long as it is not extremely wet with poor drainage or extremely dry. It does require acidic to slightly alkaline soil with a pH between 5.0 and 7.4. Test the soil pH a few months before planting the shrub to provide ample time to adjust the pH. Sphagnum peat moss, compost, well-aged manure, composted pine bark or leaf mold should be mixed into the soil to improve it before planting the shrub. These organic amendments are especially important if the soil is sandy.
With their compact size, “Confetti” abelia shrubs fit nicely into a 3-foot-wide foundation planting. Multiple “Confetti” abelia shrubs should be planted 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart. When planting it with other types of shrubs, the spacing will need to be adjusted based on the mature width of the shrubs. Divide the mature width of each shrub by 2 and add the two figures together to determine how far apart they should be planted. Manchurian lilac “Miss Kim” (Syringa pubescens subsp. patula “Miss Kim”), for example, can be grown in a foundation planting with “Confetti” abelia. It grows in USDA zones 3 to 8 and commonly grows 5 feet wide. Although “Miss Kim" Mancurian lilac can be pruned right after it blooms to maintain a smaller shrub, “Confettii” abelia and “Miss Kim” should be planted 4 to 5 feet apart. When spacing the shrubs, measure from the center of one shrub to the center of the other.
“Confetti” is a drought-tolerant shrub but it will perform best if it is watered every one to two weeks when it hasn't rained. During the first three months after planting, water it as often as necessary to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. From the fourth month, the shrub will do fine if the soil dries slightly between waterings. A 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch spread over the foundation area will help the soil retain moisture, prevent weeds and reduce the need for frequent watering.